We Do Not Have Everything We Need

Megan Wildhood
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It’s getting more and more popular for service providers, therapist, counselors, even those who merely fancy themselves spiritual to say some version of: “You have everything you need already inside of you.”

I think—for those who are well meaning, anyway—the goal is empowerment, an attempt to eschew paternalism or to validate and center the other person’s experience as a way to remedy the colonialism of the mental-health industry. Maybe it’s the pendulum swinging away from the unsolicited advice.

Modern society forces individuals to define their own identity rather than rely on relationships or community for identity formation. This breaks a long tradition of communally-shaped identity formation all around the world (my post next month will go into this much more deeply). So it’s hard not to go along with such powerful trends, especially when they’re also mostly invisible.

But it’s highly contradictory for the mental health industry to be promoting this idea. The industry’s entire business model depends on external elements—medication and “therapy” provided by another person. If we have everything we need, then we shouldn’t need their most-often prescribed tools, right? Of course we don’t need them, but it’s not because we have everything we need already inside us.

In terms of impact, telling someone they have all they need inside them already is extremely gaslighting. It is spiritual bypassing and victim-blaming of the highest order and it needs to desist immediately.

It isn’t simply that I personally do not feel empowered but, rather, dismissed and demeaned by such absolute nonsense. It’s that it serves our abusive, extractive-capitalism culture for people to believe that everything each person needs is inside each of them. How convenient! If each person already has what they need, then we (who already have way more than we need) not only can continue taking more than our fair share, but we can feel completely free to do so, since everyone already has what they need already! We don’t need to provide for anyone!

The only thing people actually need is to change their thinking around their problems—real, material problems are actually manifestations of spiritual disorder in their minds and souls! Once that’s cleared up, their circumstances will magically improve. The rest of us can continue to do nothing about the lethal systems that enrich us—and cause unrelenting material suffering and emotional distress to those less fortunate. None of the systems need to change at all—individuals just need to work harder at utilizing the resources they have, which is everything they already need.

What a wild world we live in: despite all evidence to the contrary—the tents, encampments, and makeshift shelters exploding in every neighborhood of my city, all belonging to people who have been kicked out of actual housing by capitalism and now COVID; the amount of chronic medical conditions skyrocketing since even before the pandemic; ditto the rates of loneliness, isolation, and suicide; ad infinitum—apparently, everyone already has everything they need!

Either a flimsy tent or cardboard fort under a highway overpass counts as “housing” now (as long as someone else has to live there) or people apparently don’t need adequate housing. Either human beings don’t need a clean biosphere and stable climate or they can somehow find those sorts of things inside themselves!

Perhaps I’m taking the word “everything” too literally; all right, then: either human beings can flourish completely on their own (even though the prison-industrial complex utilizes solitary confinement as a punishment) and the emotional pain they’re in isn’t serious (even though the brain registers physical pain and emotional pain in the same way). Or human beings can provide for all of their relational needs themselves—except hearing voices, talking to oneself, or dividing oneself up in order to have a relationship with oneself are all listed as symptoms of various diagnoses in the DSM, which the majority of the culture still believes in and which therapist/social workers/mental-health counselors are trained to believe is a valid compendium of ways to identify how this imaginary thing called “mental illness” presents in their “clients.”

We are connected. We do not need more ways to abdicate relationship and our responsibility to each other. We have a created a society that doesn’t even ignore people who try to live out their responsibility to their fellow human beings; our society actively shames people for acting in any way other than rabidly individualistically.

For those who are sincerely well meaning when they tell people that they have everything they need already inside of them, could you, in good conscience (which I’m assuming you have by virtue of being sincerely well-meaning), walk up to one of the people living in a tent being shunned, judged, or ignored and tell them they already have everything they need inside of them? If so, everything inside of me wants to come up all over the whole outside of you.

Even if it weren’t victim-blaming, and even if it didn’t uphold the capitalist structures and institutions that currently seek to make us into multiple streams of perpetual income for themselves at whatever cost to us, “you have everything you need” is deeply ableist. It assumes a uniform emotional, physical, intellectual, and social standard that all humans either already meet or can and should meet.

And it’s evidence of our culture’s incredible discomfort with and alienation from emotions. By saying, “you have everything you need already inside of you,” you are actually saying, “I either don’t know how or cannot be inconvenienced by your needs and do not want to deal with my own feelings of discomfort or annoyance or helplessness in the face of your needs.”

I have a lot inside me that I’m able to use for good (and a lot that expresses in not-so-good ways, of course). I am capable, most of the time, to self-regulate and I am able to meet my basic needs a large portion of the time, though not always (hence the ableism discussion above), and our culture makes me think twice about admitting such a thing in print for the public to critique and evaluate as if they are neutral parties.

But I do not have everything I need, nor am I working on self development or growth such that I will at some point ever have everything I need inside me. What I do have, in case it’s not obvious, is rage and nearly all-consuming dread. There is nothing about our social safety net, such as it is, that reassures me that I’m not next in line for a tent and a corner of sidewalk.

While self-care is totally insufficient (we do not already have everything we need), I don’t have a lot of confidence in “collective care” at this point, either. Whatever semblance of collective care we currently have does not provide for everyone’s needs that they have by virtue of being human.

My experience, as someone who lives in this culture, is that it takes more work than I have the resources and energy to do on a continual basis just to maintain basic levels of empathy. Others may be doing better, but, as I’ve written previously, our culture is abusive, and the nature of the abuse our culture inflicts upon us is such that it disconnects us, desensitizes us to each other’s needs as well as our own, and hypnotizes us into believing that we’re able to do life on our own.

And yet, I maintain the position that we are connected, for better or for worse, in a way we cannot avoid. Therefore, it’s healthier to figure out how to be with each other and care for each other than continue to engage in the destructive lie that we already have what we need inside ourselves.

And at this point, those feelings are appropriate. We have created quite the stunning shitshow for ourselves on this planet: massive class inequality, global economic systems that wantonly destroy all life-support systems while wasting needed resources at staggering rates despite clear warnings, structural oppression that often seems undismantleable, political configurations that enshrine criminal practices and greed… you live on planet Earth, I don’t need to go on.

I don’t want to meet the person who has everything they need inside themselves to handle straits so dire it’s nearly impossible to write satire anymore because that would indicate horrific disconnection from what’s actually going on.

Meditating or deep breathing or yoga or self-care or however else one accesses what’s inside of them is not concrete action that would bring millions of human beings healthy food, clean water, safe shelter, or a consistent sense of belonging—none of which they can find in themselves no matter how hard they look or how long they sit in silence with their legs crossed and palms on their knees. Going inside for what you need, in the face of the tome of catastrophes humanity is facing, is, from my vantage point, no more than denial.

The scope of the “everything” in the sentiment makes no difference. Whether personal or global needs, we do not have everything we need inside of us. We are not superheroes, despite our culture’s encouragement to wear things like sleep deprivation as a badge of honor and to call self-abuse “self-discipline” and to substitute busyness for significance and meaning.

We are, despite all forces striving to make it otherwise, human. And human beings, as evidenced by our biology (we come wired to develop in accordance and response to our relational, physical, emotional and cultural environments), by definition do not have everything they need inside of them already and are, for better or (and?) worse, reliant on others from womb to tomb.

Not only that, but so many of us—and a rapidly increasing number due to the pandemic—don’t have everything we need period. No amount of emotional resilience or inner resourcing will demolish the active powers upholding systems that thrive on poverty, inequality and, perhaps most importantly, division, isolation, and loneliness.

Believing that we each have everything we need inside of ourselves keeps us from realizing our dependence on each other and also how much more we could accomplish if we stopped attempting the impossible task of trying to do everything for ourselves. If we stopped trying to individually meet our own needs and dropped the belief that relying on others in any way is codependency (which the mental-health industry has convinced the majority of the public is true), we’d find each other again. We would not have to rely on systems that would only stop oppressing those who don’t benefit from them if it ever became more profitable to do so. If we came together in such a way, we’d waste fewer resources because we’d share.

We’d be able to produce more of what everyone needs because we’d be able to calibrate our production to our actual needs instead of what the current extractive systems manipulate us into believing we need. These systems would have us believe we don’t need anything outside of ourselves while they are completely fine taking as much from us as possible. They are not our friends.

“You have everything you need already inside you” is yet one more way to keep people separated and, thus, disempowered. Let’s stop the spread of this ridiculous idea and start prioritizing our connections to each other. The sooner we own this need, the easier it will be to walk away from/boycott/otherwise refuse to participate in systems that exploit, oppress and divide us for their obscene amounts of profit—which, currently, are all of the systems running/destroying the world.

None of us already has everything inside of us that we need, and there is nothing at all wrong with any of us. By virtue of being human, which is not dangerous or inadequate or wrong as the current ideologies would have us believe, we need other people in both small and substantial ways, no matter how good we are at “resourcing” ourselves from the inside.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

46 COMMENTS

  1. Who is the “we” you keep talking of?

    Is the “we” absolutely everyone on the planet or just some “we”?

    Is it maybe the romantic “we”? Does the “we” require a “they” or “them”?

    If the “we” needs a “them” then is it really a “we” at all, in an all embracing beloved humanity sense?
    And if the “we” requires “rage” then I would suggest it sounds like not a very satisfying “we”. It almost sounds like a springboard “we” to something else beyond the “we”, as if the “we” is an irksome barrier to a bigger prize, but what could possibly be bigger and better than an full authentic felt sense of “we”, an everyone on the planet sort of “we”, including the different and choosy?
    You do not have to be enraged on my behalf. I am doing just fine.

    As my second career I see the future. I am inclined to say that the future is full of unnecessary quotients of rage. In my opinion the words “we” and “rage” are counterproductive for a calm planet.

  2. Thanks Megan! There is a lot of truth in what you write, and I appreciate the ferocity with which you confront what might otherwise seem to be innocent attempts to be helpful! (And I appreciate that you do see that some things are attempts to be helpful, even if they are thoughtless and likely to cause lots of damage.)

    I do wonder though about one assertion you make, and that is that “there is nothing at all wrong with any of us.”

    It seems to me that there are two extreme views in mental health. One is the psychiatric view, that people who seem to be troubled have problems that exist entirely inside them. The exact opposite is the view that people are troubled because of things that are outside of them – there is nothing wrong with the person themselves.

    Both views seem to me to be wrong and unhelpful. If we are quite sure there is nothing wrong with us, that all our assumptions, beliefs, habits, etc. are perfectly fine, then it seems we become unable to do the kind of self-examination that is needed to adapt, to heal after we have been injured, etc. Of course, if we are too sure there is something wrong with us, we will always be blaming ourselves and will never be able to stand up to oppressive people and systems.

    So I think the truth is complex, and it pays to stay curious, attempting to discern when it makes more sense to try and change ourselves, and when to seek change in what is outside ourselves. Of course, as our culture behaves in ways that are more and more toxic and even suicidal, there is much more outside of ourselves that obviously needs attention.

    • Hi, Ron!

      I think there is a difference between a person deciding for him/herself that there is something “wrong” with their beliefs, assumptions, habits and someone ELSE telling us that something is “wrong” with us, or deciding exactly what it IS that is “wrong” with us. And deciding there is something “wrong” with our own belief systems is highly subjective and personal, very, VERY different than saying there is something wrong with my blood pressure or my ability to breathe or my immune system. The question of what “wrong” means and who gets to decide this is essential to having this kind of conversation make sense.

      • I agree with you that belief systems are not as easily evaluated as blood pressure, and also that there is something wrong with people thinking they should simply be able to impose their beliefs on others (and something wrong with any belief system that tells them this is OK!)

        But I don’t think belief systems are just something subjective, like one’s favorite color, about which no one else should ever weigh in. Let’s say for example that you have a belief system that tells you that you are always inferior to others, or always superior to others. This will create problems in your interactions with others. It makes sense to me that others might tell you “Steve, I think there is something wrong with the way you are looking at yourself.” Dialogue with someone who respects you and your right to form your own belief, but who also challenges your current belief, may really benefit you.

        • I don’t agree. I would never say “there is something wrong with the way you are looking at yourself.” I would ask the person what they were trying to accomplish, and ask them whether they believe their current approach is getting them where they are trying to go. I would also listen for things they felt they “couldn’t do” or “have to do” and ask them to explain how they came to these conclusions. If the person had beliefs I saw as irrational or even non-reality based, I’d ask them to explain how they know these things to be true. I might challenge their beliefs with contrary facts and ask them to explain these differences. I might even say I disagreed with them about certain conclusions. But at no point would I ever tell them that something is “wrong” with how they were looking at themselves. That is simply not my job. It is their job, 100%.

          • It seems you would try to get them to notice that they might be thinking or doing something they would want to change, without ever using the word “wrong?” But really “wrong” just means something that isn’t “right” for a given purpose – so you really would be trying to get them to consider that there might be something wrong in their approach, you just wouldn’t be saying it that boldly. I too would often take the more subtle approach, it’s less pushy, more reflective. But what this discussion started with was whether it makes sense to do the opposite – to tell people there is nothing wrong with them. I continue to hold the position that this isn’t helpful, at least not all the time.

            It is also true in a sense that we are all completely right just as we are, and that the world is completely fine just how it is! That’s the position of radical acceptance, finding everything OK just as it is. It’s a valuable perspective, and is completely true, in a sense. But as soon as we have a goal, there starts being a right and a wrong way. “I’m trying to get to Pacific Ocean” “Well you are headed in the wrong direction, you need to go west, not east!” (I would prefer the guy who tells me I’m heading in the wrong direction in that case.)

          • The point is more that I have no right to decide what they are doing is “wrong,” unless it is a violation of the rights of others. I would equally not want to tell someone that their behavior is “right,” as I also believe that is their job to evaluate. So telling them that “there is nothing wrong with you” is also not a viable position. It’s just plain not my call. This also doesn’t prevent me from expressing my concern for the direction someone is going, or pointing out potentially adverse consequences of their continuing on the path they’ve chosen.

            I do also agree that there are “better” or “worse” ways to do a particular task, and that we are doing no favors NOT to tell someone they’re going the “wrong way to get to the Pacific Ocean.” But that’s a different context, where the person has made their goals and intentions clear, and you have information to convey that will help them accomplish their goal. That is very different from saying to someone that feeling depressed about something is “wrong,” that it is “right” to listen to your doctor or teacher, that you are “wrong” not to want to go to school or find it dull, that your perception of the world is “wrong” and that if you agree with mine, you will be more “right.” In a therapeutic setting, it is my job to empower the person I’m helping to become more self-determined and to apply their abilities to creating their own lives. Something is only “wrong” to the degree that it fails to move them in the direction they want to go, and again, no one else is able to determine that definitively besides the client him/herself. Again, the only exception to that in my view is when the client is violating the rights of others, and even then, it is ultimately the client him/herself to decide what that means and how to handle the conflict. Therapy is about empowering the client, not enforcing my view of reality on someone else. And the proof is in the pudding – people who are told what to think and do, in my experience, tend to do worse and worse. And the vast majority of the time, the reason they present as “mentally ill” in the first place is because their sense of self-determinism has been systematically snuffed out of existence. The last thing most clients need is someone else’s needs and wishes to accommodate!

          • Hmm. I mostly like what you say here, as an ambition, but I think there is a room for the word “scorn” to sort of mean the same thing as “wrong”.

            No need to dwell on it. I myself am not needing an answer.

          • Interesting the shades of meaning around “wrong.”

            I think in the mental health field, we commonly see people who are distressed. If we tell them, “there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just that you’ve experienced oppression” they may like to hear that, but in the long run it may just keep them stuck, because they can’t change their past, and you’ve got them thinking that there is nothing about themselves that should be seen as involved in creating the current distress.

            I agree that therapists should not be imposing their ideas about what is right and wrong on people. But I think most mental health problems result when people have a goal and then are doing things that actually get them going in the opposite direction without their awareness of that. Like the person who wants to get to the Pacific but has gotten turned around and is driving east. We may avoid the word “wrong” if that would seem too confrontational, but our job really is to help them question their current direction and to find a way of proceeding that will actually get to where they want to go.

          • It’s a difference between a decision or direction being wrong, and a PERSON or their feelings/reactions being wrong. I agree 100% with your statement that “most ‘mental health’ problems result when people have a goal and then are doing things that actually get them going in the opposite direction without their awareness of that.” So the goal of therapy is to help THE CLIENT to gain an awareness of what direction s/he wants to be going and what barriers, internal and/or external, may be preventing that, including false beliefs that seem to force them to go in the opposite direction. Again, that is very different from saying that the person is wrong for feeling anxious or depressed or angry. Long ago, I learned that the proper approach is to validate/normalize FEELINGS, while challenging BELIEFS/THINKING that is getting in the way of the client’s success.

            And I think you are mistaking me if you think this is about the word “wrong.” It is about the invalidation of a person’s knowledge of or ability to know their own mind and ethics and/or to decide for him/herself what is right/wrong, effective/ineffective, valid/invalid. And it most definitely IS imposing one’s idea of rightness/wrongness when we tell or imply that a person’s emotional reaction is somehow “wrong” or that a person suffers from a “mental illness” simply because s/he engages in behavior that seems irrational or unproductive. I find it much more helpful to help a person identify the reason why something that I think is “irrational” makes sense to them. Once the problem they are trying to solve with the “irrational” behavior becomes clear, it may be possible to consider other solutions that are more coherent with their goals.

            Of course, this is more complicated when a person’s connection to what we consider “reality” is more distant. But I think the same principles apply. It is clearly very ineffective to start off telling someone who hears voices that they are imaginary, or telling someone with a “delusional” belief that their belief is wrong. It’s a question of what really works, not a particular antipathy to the word “wrong.”

          • One bind people get into with say paranoia is seeing it as too big a deal if they are wrong. So they suspect a plot against them, and then start seeing only two alternatives, either that the plot is real, or that they are crazy. They don’t want to feel that they are crazy, so the plot must be real!

            My specialty in therapy is working with people who are seen as having “psychosis” and the better approach to therapy in such cases is to normalize making errors and being wrong some of the time. So the therapist may share stories of when they suspected something in error, and then talk about how our brains are tricky, and the social world is tricky and confusing, and the person may have been tired and lacking sleep and disturbed about other issues etc., and it is easy to make mistakes.

            If this works, someone can see a third possibility to either the plot being real, or the person being “crazy” – they may have just made an understandable mistake they can then recover from. This isn’t the therapist telling the person they have made a mistake, just opening up that possibility for consideration as the issue is explored.

          • That makes sense to me. You are empowering the client to evaluate his/her own ability to admit being wrong about his/her perceptions, as well as normalizing a very human tendency to fight the possibility of being “wrong” about one’s ideas or perceptions.

    • Ron, I thank you for being the voice of balance.

      You need not agree with me here and that is totally fine but I would add that the saying “there is nothing at all wrong with any of us” might pass muster in the “we” chant of the “us” did not sound like a bullying war cry against a “them” who presumably have “everything” wrong with “them”. This way of framing human beings in “us and them terms” is what led the princesses and princelings of psychiatry behaving like control freaks.

      I personally feel that to keep my moral conscience in tip top supple flexible sensitive shape, able to dance with another persons point of view, I can “never” rest on my smug laurels and feel perfectly “right” in relation to their views, even here and now!
      I constantly pull the rug on my self righteousness in order to never be that person. For myself, having a conscience, never mind all the other socially relevant attributes like being knowledgeable or intellectual, demands that I have a feeling that I do not know everything at all about another person and if I do not, I may indeed be “wrong”. But a conscience is burdensome and inconvenient, especially to the violent. Bearing existential burdens with good humour is what very young children wonderfully do. Children never think they are “right” or “wrong” in comparison with a “them”. They don’t need to invent a concept to bully, of a “them” so they never need an “us” or a “we”. Children never need to do all that heroic or control freak solemnity because children keep it wittily simple in only being “right” or “wrong” for their own “me”.
      It is a much more gracious and harmonious way of socializing that does not need a years long begrudging sulky sense of “they” quite like adults do, although adults like to disguise their “us and them” in a thin veneer of scholasticism so they would not call it sulking. Check out Adam Jukes youtube on “sulking”.
      I actually do not mind the “us and them” mentality. I think it is almost cute as an example of human idiocy. I indulge in my own impetuous “us and them” every day. But I keep aware of my need to bolster my inevitable egotism with it. It is a hallmark of ego to seek a “them” to compare with and compete with. Competition is a jolly sport but if it gets taken too seriously it goes beyond sport and sometimes when that occurs the ego of a million humans becomes a bloody tragic war.

      I feel it is always best to have this saying close at hand…

      “I do not know you”.

      If I believe this then I can never pompously be one hundred percent “right” nor make you painfully “wrong”.

      This will fall on deaf ears of course. Humans prefer to think themselves “right” because it permits them a lovely healed feeling from living a life in proximity to other humans who bombard them with the bullying notion they are “wrong”. This is where this article derives its “ferocity” as you worded it. The seeking of healing through righteousness. But you can heal that shit without making plenty other people “you do not know” feel they are “wrong”….if not there is no end of it….and the whole world tries to heal itself by going to war on “them”…and even a very young child knows A WAR HEALS NOBODY.

  3. Mr. Unger spoke of someone needing help because they desired to go towards the Pacific Ocean; but, were actually headed eastbound towards the Atlantic Ocean, maybe. Once, I needed to see a different doctor than usual. (This has nothing to do with any Psych experiences I have discussed on this site and actually prior to most of them.) This particular doctor was on the east side of the town in which I lived. However, I “got turned around” and ended up headed westbound. Well, I finally figured out my error and telephoned them and got back on the right track. However, when I did finally arrive in this particular doctor’s office, I was badgered, criticized, and harangued beyond permitted limits. The doctor almost refused to see me. I never went back to this doctor. Perhaps, it was a harbinger of what would be in my encounters with so many doctors, beginning with the psychiatrists and extending into other medical fields. Perhaps, I should have just continued westbound, never seeing that particular doctor and then never having to have that added pain in my brain. The point is just because someone says they are headed towards the Pacific, when to us we see them headed towards the Atlantic does not necessarily mean they have taken the wrong turn and need to be corrected to head the other way. How do we, as mere humans, really know if the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean is best for that person. We don’t and we should not. Christianity has a way out for this problem. Other religions may also have a similar way out. This is to pray for the will of God to be played out in a person’s life, not for anything else, not even for healing, a job or whatever; just the will of God. This is because we do not know another person’s “life path.” This is because we honestly do not know what is right or wrong for another person. Only that person knows with the help of God, that is… I could give a million or more examples. But, I will say, in my opinion, this is the problem with the mental illness industry and in fact much of medicine, government, education, etc. We all want to play God, in some manner. We all want to think that we are the answer to God’s Prayer. But, it is usually hubris that probably causes the most unnecessary disease and premature death. Deciding what is right and wrong for another person is hubris (playing God) and is dangerous. If you find yourself in that position, take a step back and a deep breath, and let God do His thing. Thank you.

    • Hi Rebel,

      You bring up some interesting points, that touch on some deep issues. Some have pointed out that not only do we not know what will be right or wrong for other people in the long run, we don’t know what it is for ourselves either. Because, as you point out, there can always be unanticipated twists and turns. See for example the story of the Chinese farmer, as told by Alan Watts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX0OARBqBp0

    • Spirituality and political action are not in conflict, at least not inherently. “Prayer” is often seen as beseeching a Big Man In The Sky for guidance and favors, but this a Western notion; it can also be understood as a meditative technique that helps connect one’s essence to the universal flow of consciousness. This can manifest in many ways.

      So Rebel, are you getting your MIA notifications again?

  4. Dear Ron,
    If I were sitting in a decadent Gestalt Therapy group, something I did enjoy trying many years ago, I am sure someone would looked around the group and would have said of this moment…

    “What is going on with the energy in this room?”.

    Where is the love eh? The whole world seems dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat puppies.

    A sentence is not just its “logic”. A bot can do “logic”.
    A person cannot snog “logic”. A person cannot cook a meal for “logic”, unless its puppies. A person cannot fuck “logic”. Yet so many people lay down their lives for “logic” and bicker to the point of rejecting and even traumatizing eachother over “logic”. It has become humanity’s latest God. An imperious statue to the human intellect. But I repeat…

    “Where is the love eh?”.

    Oh, maybe it is that love is too real and therefore embarrassing to ask for.

    Anyways, you don’t seem to be getting any, so laughingly and in the spirit of witty Gestaltish jollity, have a little love from me.

    Actually on a tangent…. If I were strolling into a sesh of Gestalt Therapy I would have positively paid for my therapist to shout at me that I am “wrong”. I would have done that so that I could develop new ways of telling all naesayers that they are talking crap and that I am “right”. A tiresome skill to have but sometimes useful. I gather this is a very effective tool in Gestalt Therapy, kind of like learning to ignore shouting on a humourous bootcamp survival course. But this is me doing my “actually” thing…which is so annoyingly prevallent at the moment and usually is the harbinger of feeding a system of “logic” yet more “logic”. Like using fire to futilly try to put out fire. So I am less incljned now to fight when someone says I am “wrong”. Call me “wrong” then. Be my guest. The whole planetary climate is going to the dogs and my being either “right” or “wrong” is not going to save a daisy from that deluge.

    You have to laugh, because that is all you can do.

    “Logic” likes “preciousness”. It likes the preciousness of councils and creeds and doctrines and finicky laws that make it illegal for a woman to call herself a woman. “Logic” likes the preciousness of the passport and the wall and the cut wrist cuffs of the uniform. Everything tidy. Every messy word boxed into an orderly corner by a battery of objections that exhaustingly call out…
    “Yes but”…

    It is easy to get hypnotized into the phoney world saving allure of “logic” with its sexy jargon.

    Was it Thomas Aquinas who said of “logic”…

    “Its all straw!”.

    “Logic” is used to make people feel “wrong”. And “logic” likes to pretend there is NO OTHER WAY to feel “right” but through “logic”.

    What Amazonian rainforest daughter wastes a whole blissful day on “logic”. The overly logical are “ill” my friend. And it is an illness that is far more contageous than whatever leaked out of a bat.
    The “logical” lack this…

    love.

    Anyways, my schizophrenia is mskinh it difficult to write just now. I get given unpleasant sensations if I jot certain words. Which ironically is what the God of “logic” does to everyone.

    I frequently get lured into a discussion honeypot that turns out to demand I be more “logical” than I have the time of day for.

    We will all soon enough be in our wooden budget caskets within our stone cold graves and we will have wasted all our youth and beauty on trying to kiss and cuddle “logical” fact sheets. We will have spent years making “logic” precious, strewing that God’s altar with offerings of our own uneaten dinners.

    AND FOR WHAT?

    Does “logic” love us? Does it envelop our tired feet with cosy socks? Does it put ribbons and bows in our hair? Does it caress our fragile skin? Does it make us chuckle uproarously? Or does it cause mass extinction of just about everything that words can be attached to or bickered over?

    I maybe attempted to illuminate some of this in the comments I made to the article titled…
    “Psychiatry Residents Need More Training in LGBTQ Issues, Survey Finds”.

    You may find my comments there.

  5. What a remarkable comments section. It’s almost like the article wasn’t read at all. I’ll post some terms, ideas and facts – they just aren’t getting any coverage but I might be mistaken:

    Capitalism.
    Poverty.
    The rich get richer and the poor sometimes get prison,
    Free and easy money is available for the super rich.
    Materialism does matter to an extent and it directly impacts well being.
    If you complain to a psychiatrist sometimes you get drugged.
    If you complain on social media you get censored.
    The legal system can and does cause great harm as well as good.
    The United States is not a democracy.
    Deaths of despair is a term used to obscure intentional violence from the status quo and it is usually completely legal.
    The focus on identity politics is used to obscure poverty.
    Militarism creates poverty.
    MIlitarism creates mental illness.
    Militarism guarantees tent cities, homelessness and deaths of despair.
    Militarism creates enormous wealth, happiness and prosperity for a smaller number of people.

    • Militarism is a tactic, not an ideology in & of itself. Capitalism needs to be defined before it can be discussed intelligently. “Democratic socialism” is capitalism, but you’d never know it from the way it’s presented by the ignorant as the road to liberation.

      What will be happening more & more is that corporate America will be dressing up its agenda as “anti-racist,” while the corporatocracy continues with genocide as usual. This is the “Biden” plan for achieving neoliberal totalitarianism in the course of one generation. And social media will be there to cool any resistance and assure us that what we clearly see is “disinformation.”

      Your only error is that “mental illness” is fiction. Ask Snopes. 🙂

    • I’m glad you read it, great list.
      Add to that the media, who is either bought, or too frightened to present, represent all sides. There are a few who bucked trends, monotonous pay and went with what they felt was the right thing to do, one being Robert Whitaker.

  6. Hi Megan,
    I think your anger toward capitalism as the culprit of all the ills of this society is misplaced at least in regards to the main thesis of this article. I would suggest it is the West’s overemphasis, and especially the United States, on rugged individualism, independence, autonomy, the me-culture and such. I never really bought into all that stuff, and so when my wife and I naturally began following attachment theory from the start of our healing journey, it wasn’t a huge change for us. We just had to learn to become more purposeful as we implemented its main tenets into our relationship.
    Sam

    • The terms used to describe capitalism are more often a combination of politics and ideology. So it’s a loaded term. Everyone appreciates it when someone drops it into the comments section though. Thanks.

      Capitalism, for most of us, means having to get up everyday and more or less sell ourselves for money. Some call this drudgery, others call this slavery, few call this freedom. Interestingly Whitaker measured psych drug effectiveness in terms of whether people went back to work or not.

      America has an otherwise well intentioned class of people who never worry about their basic needs, indeed luxuries or metaphysical hobbies.
      You can almost guess they are too embarrased to talk about it on social media or they really have no idea at all. This indifference or ignorance is not organic. It is another carefully designed feature of our system. What should we call this system?

      • Hello Curiousmedia,
        I don’t really want to debate economics. I understand there is a ton of inequality in our system, and so many are being left behind, but I don’t think it’s truly a function of capitalism, but of the avarice in our leaders and the 1% hearts. At the same time, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and unchecked socialism has a history of failures from last century.

        Anyway, I believe Megan’s main point was ‘we don’t have everything we need’ within ourselves, and attachment theory would affirm that. It’s the foundation of everything my wife and I did on our healing journey from her childhood abuse. Attachment theory teaches us as the song says, “We all need somebody to lean on” and that’s not just when we are in crisis, but throughout our lives.
        By the way. I’ve been here over 5 years, but thanks for the welcome, but I’m an anomaly here, and so I don’t comment much anymore.
        Sam

        • Hi Sam et al.,

          The Earth actually naturally provides for all our needs, if only we stop abusing and destroying her. The cult of work and addiction to money – which is a fake substance that in reality, in nature, can’t satisfy any real needs – are ironically destroying the very things we depend on for survival. The choice is not between industrialized capitalism and industrialized socialism but between continuing on our path to complete ecological and social collapse or choosing to go in the opposite direction – contracting rather than expanding (materially, “economically,” in numbers, in ambitions) – and yet expanding rather than contracting, too (emotionally and spiritually). Returning to our roots and to the original, natural, sustainable way of living that allowed our species to thrive for most of its history, before we took a wrong turn with agriculture, civilization, ruling classes, slave/”working” classes, institutionalized abuses and generational traumas, empires and ever-worsening extraction, exploitation and ecocide.

          We don’t even need to “produce” much to survive and thrive, in reality – if we got in touch with our original way of living, we could simply make use of what the Earth freely provides. By taking only what we need and giving back as much as we get, we ensure balance and sustainability, respect and equitability. There are so many ideas and habits of thinking that have been programmed into us over centuries of civilization that it’s necessary to deprogram ourselves out of in order to truly get back in touch with our lost health and integrity, both as individuals and collectively.

        • Sam, I agree. I know what you mean about the foundational work that goes on in attachment. And how if you as a parent do not get your progeny’s attachment alignment “just so” then you doom your beloved to endlessly repeat ill patterns, like a lost duckling in terms of that faulty primary conditioning, regardless of how wealthy or poor you are. I suppose though some could say that if you are poor it makes providing for infantile attachment needs awkward, since you as the parent if impoverished may be exhausted or stressed or half-starved. But I think it is hard to “fix the world” first and then feed your baby. Most parents feel honour bound to feed the innocent baby first and then focus on the politics and economics of the world. Maybe those without babies do not understand that almost biological imperative. They may say it is selfishness on the part of parents to be putting the baby before the tribe.

          • Daiphanous Weeping,
            though attachment is most easily done during childhood through healthy interaction with a loving, providing parent, the science supports what my wife and I have experienced the last 14 years: that adult couples can provide the same for each other. But the challenge for us is undoing 5 decades of trauma and dissociation that became systemic in her thought patterns. If only I had understood what was going on inside her when we were first married at 21, it would have been so much easier than when we finally started at 40 and now into our mid 50’s, sigh…
            Sam

  7. I did have a moment in nature when I felt my own soul and I did feel like “I have everything I need.” However I find that many people who say “You create your reality with your thoughts,” or “You attract your experiences with your thoughts” have been very damaging to me as if I somehow betrayed myself into becoming entrapped in a nightmare system that “invisibilizes my experience making it impossible to get help, and then rewrites the psychiatric narrative where the illness is causal.” I stole that line from Bonnie Bristow. So in that sense I thank you for fighting against a feel good narrative that has worked against me

  8. Waking up everyday and selling oneself for money is called “prostitution.”
    The “create you own reality with your thoughts” or “You attract your experiences with your thoughts” world is nothing but “New Age Mumbo-Jumbo.” Another variant is the idea that the world, the people, etc. reflect who you are. These are all dangerous and the last has great danger if you consider the world we see on the evening news each night. Of course, now much of it is 18 to 24 hours a day. Anyway, I consider this “New Age Stuff” very dangerous and I think it is a variation of psychiatry, etc. When one realizes they are lacking, somehow they end up making it to the psychiatrist’s office, etc. and a world of drugs and worse. I see the world of psychedelics, new age, psychiatry, etc. as all variations on a theme and this theme is not good, but, evil. It is a “feel good” world where all feelings, especially those of the “feel good” type are false and damaging. And, when I say damaging, I mean it; because any of these can lead to any and all kinds of forms of brain damage. These are all dangerous territories. Please stay away, if you can. Psychiatry, etc. includes basic old psychology, too. And, I know, I was ignorant enough to be a psychology major in college. There are a million other ways to help people than through psychology, new age and psychedelics. Thank you.

    • How many times have you used psychedelics Rebel?

      Don’t get me wrong, articles on MIA talking about “psychedelic therapy” are opportunistic career-minded bs. But psychedelics magnify some aspects of consciousness to which most Westerners have been blinded by the crass materialism and emotional repression of corporate culture. They are not “drugs” in the usual sense of distorting or blunting reality, and can help unlock some self-perpetuating fixations and mental blocks for those who are able to use them properly.

      • Oldhead, Why are you “attacking” me about psychedelics? Other than the “prescribed psych drugs” I have only used marijuana twice as a college student and drank alcohol until my body and brain rejected that too. In my college marijuana experience, I was picking oranges off an imaginary tree, while my “friends” who shared the evening with me were just extremely relaxed waiting for the munchy stage. On one hand, I respect what you are saying about the use of psychedelics, but they are still drugs, that makes them inherently dangerous, especially since they do pinpoint the brain. Even meditation and other mind-numbing and mind-changing activities can be dangerous. Some people are more vulnerable than others and unfortunately, it is very difficult to tell what kind of harm might result from psychedelics and any of these activities. I have known people to think they could walk through walls from these drugs and thus nearly die. I can not advocate for any type of drug that would affect the brain. The brain is the most important organ of the body. So far, we really can’t transplant brains like we do hearts, kidney, and the like. Perhaps, this is because the brain house all an individual was, is or ever shall be. Not only that, of all the body organs, the brain has been created in an individual manner to assure the survival of the species. No brain is like another, as is, no person is really like another. I continue my fervent objection, to drugs, but especially to those drugs specifically meant for the brain. Thank you.

  9. This is a great article and touches so many layers of what it means to have mental health issues, poverty, and heal and integrate oneself.
    First, only in the first world do people truly correlate mental health with poverty. There are a lot of poor people who do not have mental health issues.
    Mental health is one of the most equalizer in humans. Anyone can get it but some people have the means to recover or the resources. Having resource is not a prevention of mental health, it is treatment of mental health.
    The need for the individual to have all they need inside (mind, imagination, creativity, esteem) is just as important as the need to have others in their lives for things like love, relationships, friendships, support, humor, creativity, sharing…
    So the problem often arises, when the two are split hard by culture, politics, or some kind of mental processing that may not be obvious to the person involved or genetically inherited genes of such. I often make the comment if you are so individualized, one should live in the mountains alone forever! and if you want to give up individualism and live fully collectively, then just join a cult! (being sarcastic cause I am very sure both are doable in some sensible ways…)

    So this article is touching a lot of layers that most of us want to keep balanced but it is hard.

    • “The world’s most ruthless killer and the greatest cause of suffering on earth is extreme poverty,” a finding that emphasizes the correlation between poverty and its effect on mental health. This is from the World Health Organization. Poverty is an enormous risk. But the US (not unique from other countries) seems to have a cocoon of institutions dedicated to mystifying what is really going on.

      Now smoking is a big risk factor for lung cancer. The origin of so-called mental problems seems to be more mysterious. Put crudely: was somebody crazy before they became poor, or did the inability to pay the rent, buy food and clothing make them lose it in some way?

      Whether or not we agree with this uncertainty, I think one class has the abillity to disguise its interests as working for the “general good”.

  10. We do not have everything need until we realize that we need God and then we really do have everything we need. If you are concerned about being needed, please rest assured that God does need us or why else would we be individually and uniquely created in His Image and in His Name. Thank you.

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